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October 31, 2013 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-10-31

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The Michigan Daily michigandaily.com

Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 7A

Run effort may be futile

By ZACH HELFAND
Daily Sports Editor
To beat Michigan State, his-
tory dictates Michigan has to
win the running game. But this
year's results suggest that might
be futile.
To beat Michigan State, the
popular narrative in the media
says the Wolverines must be the
more physical team. But offensive
style could demand finesse and
speed.
The Spartans' defense requires
Michigan take special care to
avoid turnovers. But the Wolver-
ines' best offensive weapons are
on the outside.
By Michigan coach Brady
Hoke's own reckoning, Michigan
is still searching for an identity.
Heading into a week with major
Legends Division implications,
it faces a series of choices about
what kind of team it seeks to be.
Does it run, despite limited pro-
duction in the ground game? Can'
it be a spread team and physical at
the same time? Will the threat of
turnovers turn Michigan squea-
mish in the passing game?
All week, players spoke of the
rivalry's physicality and nasti-
ness. Part of it is pride. Michigan
feels as if it were bullied by Mich-
igan State in East Lansing two
years ago. It doesn't just want to
run, it wants to dominate on the
ground.
"This is Michigan," said fifth-
year senior running back Fitzger-
ald Toussaint. "We're not gonna
go out there, we're not gonna get
punked by nobody. We're going
to stand up, and we're gonna hit
them in the mouth. That simple."
Michigan is probably justified
in emphasizing the ground game:
In 40 of the past 43 matchups
between Michigan and Michigan
State, the team that won the rush-
ing battle won the game.
"I saw that somewhere," Hoke
said. "But there's also years when

PATRICK BARRON/Daily
Fifth-year senior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint had his biggest game of the season against Indiana, scoring four times.

it hasn't, so you have to do what's
best for you as a team when you
think you can have success."
Most of the time, though, a
heroic effort was required to win
despite trailing on the ground.
The last time it happened, in
2004, Brayloh Edwards bailed
out a running game that was out-
rushed 368 to 223. Then, he made
two highlight-reel catches in
the fourth quarter to help erase
a 17-point deficit in less than six
minutes. In overtime, he caught
a third.
Barring a major turnaround
on the interior of the line, Michi-
gan may have to find a way to win
other than on the ground. The
Wolverines are 75th in the nation
in rushing yards per attempt,
and they have shuffled linemen
for much of the year. This week,
freshman Kyle Bosch and red-
shirt freshman Erik Magnuson
will both start at guard. Tous-
saint has eclipsed 100 yards just
once this season. And the Spar-
tans rank first in the nation in
rushing defense - by a wide mar-
gin - with less than 55 yards per
game.
"Oh, it's a huge test," said
offensive coordinator Al Borges.
In two years under Hoke and

Borges, Michigan State has lim-
ited Michigan to just 26 points.
Borges identified two keys to
beating the Michigan State
offense. One, he said, was giving
"your skill guys a chance to do
what they do best, whether it be
in the open field or around the
line of scrimmage.
"If you're getting hit in the
backfield as soon as you hand
the ball off, you're not going any-
where. And they've done a lot of
that."
Borges has shown a willing-
ness to let the inside running
game develop. Last week, he said
he considers his offense a down-
hill running team with spread*
elements. But when Michigan's
offense has been most explosive
- in wins over Notre Dame and
Indiana - it has spread the field
and attacked the edge.
That would avoid Michigan
State's signature A-gap blitzes,
which wreak havoc on opposing
offenses in the middle. But that
would also require a shift in phi-
losophy.
Borges says his coaching histo-
ry shows that some years he runs
more and some years he passes
more. The deciding factor is: who
are his personnel?

"I said this before, I think good
offenses are the perfect mix of
finesse and physicality," Borges
said.
But he said he gets excited at
the physicality. And he still wants
to run.
"As a competitor, as a human
being, I love these games," Borg-
es said. "I love it. This is why I
coach."
Now, Michigan's person-
nel seem to suggest pass. Since
Michigan has shifted sopho-
more tight end Devin Funchess
to split end, Michigan's passing
game has flourished. Last game,
against Indiana, redshirt junior
quarterback Devin Gardner set
the Michigan record for passing
yards. But Michigan State has a
stout secondary. Cornerback Dar-
queze Dennard, Hoke said, "is a
high-round pick." Plus, the Spar-
tans have propensity for scoring
off turnovers, and Gardner has
shown a propensity for givingthe
ball away.
Saturday, then, should provide
a look at what kind of team Michi-
gan will be for the rest of the Big
Ten season. If it doesn't find the
absent running game early, it
must adapt quickly, or it could be
a long game for the offense.

'M' falls to Akron
after flat, first half
By MICHAEL PISCIOTTA redshirt sophomore midfielder
DailySports Writer Colin McAtee, who instigated
a skirmish that led to a verbal
Coming off its first three- confrontation between senior
game win streak of the year, the midfielder Dylan Medcia and
Michigan men's soccer team the Zips' forwards.
looked to avenge last year's "We started really slow, and
second-round NCAA Tourna- they didn't," said Michigan
ment loss coach Chaka Daley. "They were
to Akron. AKRON 2 really bright, and that led to us
With high MICHIGAN conceding two goals."
hopes of With time running down in
beating another national pow- the first half, the Wolverines
erhouse, Michigan fell flat. got back in the game through
Despite an inspired second- senior defender Ezekiel Har-
half performance, the Wol- ris. Following a foul by the Zips,
verines couldn't overcome a Arnone whipped a long free kick
two-goal, first-half deficit in to freshman forward Yamann
their 2-1 defeat to the Zips on Sahlool, who chested down the
Wednesday evening. ball to Harris. He pounced on
"The first half, we came out the loose ball and lashed a shot
flat," said redshirt junior Tyler into the back of the net to cut
Arnone. "We didn't have a great the Akron lead to one.
warm-up." Inspired by the late goal by
From the start, Akron's Harris, Michigan created qual-
attack looked potent. In the ity scoring chances through
fifth minute, following a loss shots from redshirt sophomore
of possession in the midfield midfielder Colin McAtee and
by the Wolverines, the ball was senior midfielder Fabio Pereira.
passed to Zips midfielder Adam Michigan's efforts were for
Najem, who ripped a shot off the naught, though, as it couldn't
crossbar. Ten minutes later, a break down the Zips' back line.
slidingshot by Akron midfielder As the game progressed, the
Robbie Derschang almost put Wolverines' back line began to
Akron ahead, but it narrowly improve, as did the play of Grin-
went wide. wis, who made two brilliant
The breakthrough for Akron saves to keep Michigan in the
came in the 23rd minute, game. Akron was forced into
through Derschang. A cross difficult situations and prevent-
from defender Saad Abdul- ed from creating easy scoring
Salaam opportunities.
found the With time
foot of mid- winding
fielder Matt "...'VVe came out down, the
Foldesy, who Wolverines
played the flat. W e didn't switched to
ball across a three-lack
the goal. The have a great formation and
cross was1 pushed multi-
deflected by w arm -up. ple players for-
a Wolverine ward in attack.
defender into This switch
the path of led to a more
Derschang, who slotted the ball dominant Michigan attack that
into the back of the net. looked poised to score an equal-
In the 30th minute, the izer. In the 84th minute, the
Zips doubled their lead after a Wolverines almost scored the
lapse by the Michigan defense. goal they desperately needed.
Akron's sustained pressure Junior midfielder TJ
caused a mishit clearance by a VanSlooten, who had just
Wolverines defender that fell entered as a sub, gathered a
nicely to Derschang. He vol- cross from the right flank and
leyed the loose ball from 18 shot the ball toward goal. His
yards out into the bottom-right effort was cleared off the line
corner past Michigan redshirt by the Zips' defense, leading
junior goalkeeper Adam Grin- to a corner for Michigan. The
wis. ensuing corner was whipped in
"It was a disgrace," Arnone by Arnone, and it met the head
said. "To let up a goal that easy, of McAtee. It seemed like an
there is no excuse." easy goal as the ball lofted over
The Zips clearly dominated Akron goalkeeper Fernando
play for most of the opening 45 Pina, but it hit the crossbar and
minutes as they kept the majori- the opportunity was lost. Then,
ty of the possession and outshot in the 90th minute, Pina slipped
Michigan, 13-3. Precise long while clearing the ball, and it
passes and clever runs by the landed at the feet of sophomore
Akron forwards created mul- forward James Murphy. With
tiple scoring opportunities and Pina off his line, Murphy tried
caused problems for the Wol- to chip it into the back of the
verine back line. net, but the ball was straight at
The teams combined for 26 Pina.
fouls, and five yellow cards "We had some great chanc-
were handed out. In the 66th es," Daley said "But we didn't
mnimrtp_ -mninnc "n+ the o nkp+ raof thm "

Another Akron chapter added

ByJOHN KOPKO
For theDaily
The last time the Michigan
men's soccer team clashed with
Akron, in 2012, a trip to the third
round of the NCAA Tournament
was on the line. The Zips were
undefeated on their home turf,
and the Wolverines had won six
of their last seven.
Then, Michigan's Colin McA-
tee was shown a red card after
kicking Akron's Robbie Der-
schang in the head. The Zips took
a two-goal lead and held off a late
charge by the Wolverines to send
the visitors back to Ann Arbor
empty handed.
The last time Akron came to
Ann Arbor, in 2011, it was ranked
fourth in the nation. Michigan
# midfielder Latif Alashe scored a
stunning overtime goal to shock
to Zips and propel the Wolver-
ines to a 1-0 victory.
The recent history between
the teams has developed into
nothing less than a rivalry.
"For sure, it is 100 percent (a
rivalry). This isn't a rivalry like
Ohio State and Michigan State,"
said junior captain Tyler Arnone.
"This is a respectful rivalry
(because) we know two good
teams are going toe-to-toe with
each other."
The setting was similar on
Wednesday - a calm, clear night
in Ann Arbor. Michigan (3-2-0
Big Ten, 7-4-3 overall) came into
the game riding a three-game
home win streak. Meanwhile,
No. 17 Akron (4-1-0 Mid-Amer-
ican Conference, 11-3-1) was
undefeated in its last five con-
tests.
Both teams fielded freshmen
who did not take part in the tour-
nament showdown the previous
season, or the stunning upset the
year before that.
But fresh faces didn't help the
Wolverines, and for the second
meeting in a row, Akron defeated
Michigan, 2-1.
The Zips' offense started the
game fast, displaying well-timed
runs and well-placed crosses. In
the fifth minute, Akron freshman
midfielder Adam Najem found

JAMES COLLER/Daily
Senior midfielder Fabio Pereira led Michigan in shots on goal on Wednesday, with two.

space outside the box and curled
a shot over the fingertips of the
Wolverines keeper, redshirt
junior Adam Grinwis, rattling off
the crossbar and bouncing away.
For Michigan the score line
was eerily similar to last year's
loss in the NCAA Tournament
- a physical battle, a relentless
Akron attack and a commanding
performance by the Zips.
"If you look at Michigan-
Akron in the past five or six
years, the games weren't really
even close with regards to qual-
ity of play," said Michigan coach
Chaka Daley. "Last year, they
dominated us."
The Michigan offense finally
kicked into gear only in the clos-
ing minutes of the first half. With
33 seconds left, senior defender
Ezekiel Harris collected a loose
ball at the top of the box follow-
ing a set piece and drove a low
volley into the corner of the net
to bring the Wolverines within a
goal.
The second half brought out a
rejuvenated Wolverine offense.
In the first 10 minutes, Michigan
put pressure on the Zips' defense.

Aggressive play generated three
quick shots and a corner, but the
Wolverines failed to capitalize on,
their chances.
As the clock ticked away, most
of the possession for both teams
came in the middle third of the
field. The teams swapped shots
and scoring opportunities, but
good defending and goalkeeper
play kept the score at 2-1.
The physicality of the rivalry
continued to heat up as Michi-
gan desperately searched for an
equalizer.
In the 77th minute, McA-
tee went hard into a tackle and
knocked Najem to the turf. In
a scene similar to last season's
meeting, McAtee was shown a
card and players on both sides
had to be restrained as words
were exchanged. Less than two
minutes later, Akron defenseman
Saad Abdul-Salaam was shown a
card for bringing down a Michi-
gan defender.
With less than 10 minutes to
play in the half, the Wolverine
attack began to pressure the
Zips' back line again. In the 85th
minute, McAtee got his head

on a cross and directed the ball
toward an open goal. The- ball
clipped the bottom of the cross-
bar and was cleared away by the
Akron defense.
The Wolverines still would
not go away. In the 90th minute,
the Akron goalkeeper slipped as
he attempted a clearance, and
the ball skipped right to Michi-
gan's leading scorer, James Mur-
phy. Murphy fired a shot, but his
attempt was weak and the Zips'
keeper caught the ball to seal the
Wolverines fate.
"Even though we came out
on the wrong side of the result
tonight, I still felt it was a good
game," Arnone said.
To Daley, the 'growing his-
tory between the two soccer pro-
grams signifies the level of play
that Michigan soccer wants to
be at.
"We're aspiring to be on
(Akron's) level on a consistent
basis. They put it all together
for longer stretches than we
did," Daley said. "That's part of
their culture, and that's the cul-
ture we're trying to create here
amongst Michigan soccer."

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